Mental Health and the Easing of COVID-19 Restrictions in the Workplace: Andrew Harkness
Description: Andrew Harkness explains why good employee-employer relationships are vital during this pandemic, and that good management practices include being mindful of employees' mental and physical state, being flexible and being supportive.
Date: November 23, 2020
[Text on screen: « Mental Health and the Easing of COVID-19 Restrictions in the Workplace : Andrew Harkness»]
[Text on screen: « The COVID-19 pandemic can be a major stressor for us in many areas of our lives.»]
[Text on screen: «The easing of restrictions in the workplace can bring new anxieties and it is important to consider it's impact on mental health. Here are some key elements to consider»]
I'm Andrew Harkness and I'm the strategy advisor for organizational health initiatives at Workplace Safety and Prevention Services. Regardless of the present state, our research does show that the employee-employer relationship is one of the most important things in workplaces in terms of aspects of job satisfaction, productivity, efficiency, customer satisfaction. Doesn't matter what the measures are going to be about, it's an aspect of good management practices, is to be aware of emotionally intelligence and mindful of where your employees mental and physical state is. Know our employees is critical. Now, you add in this level of pandemic, and I think we have to recognize that there's no game plan for this. This is a new world for all of us. And I think that one of the key things as we bring our work teams back together and our management groups and the like. One of your keywords is going to be flexibility. I think we've got to look at the fact that, you know, things like policies and procedures and practices, some of those are really going to have to be revisited as we now talk about what's going to be going on in workplaces. As we go back into work and start to try to create this new normal together, we should recognize that psychological and physical health and safety is a shared responsibility. It's up to all of us to step up and participate in the protection of both our psyche and our physical health and safety as individuals as well as with management. One of the things that is really important for that is we have to be courageous to step up and speak out. But we also have to be, and this is where the management group should be coming from, is be able to be in a psychologically safe environment where I can contribute, I can speak up without fear of penalty, reprisal, punishment, that sort of stuff. So I see us looking at two pieces. We need to be brave and courageous to speak up. We need to be having a work environment that will allow us to speak up and to be supportive of the whole aspect that we're all in this together. And as you've seen by how this pandemic has moved, if we're not thinking about our colleagues, if we're not thinking about our community and friends, we end up creating environments where this pandemic can just thrive. So I think it is up to all of us to be aware, contribute, look to what can you be doing to help your colleagues, because they're going to be looking to help you as well.
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